by Peter Leavell, @PeterLeavell
“Too unconcerned to love and too passionless to hate, too detached to be selfish and too lifeless to be unselfish, too indifferent to experience joy and too cold to express sorrow, they are neither dead nor alive; they merely exist.” Martin Luther King Jr.
But that’s not you. No. You’re a writer, living at the height of your passion. Dreams, hopes, rage, swoons—oh, it’s the writer’s life for you!
That’s why you’re reading Novel Rocket, to get the edge on your dreams.
I’ve needed productivity ideas, so I’ve been reading. Here’s some tips I’ve gathered from the sources I’ll list below. (These get harsh, but this is my pep talk—this is how I talk to myself. My arms are cross and my tone is terse.)
- Your writing passion is bizarre and will create a life that doesn’t look like those of your friends. If you’re not okay with that, drop writing and pursue normal.
- Energy on many projects won’t get them done. Focus on one project to its completion. Then move on.
- If you’re not sure if you should do something, the answer is definitely no. Only do the absolute ‘yes!’ “Want to go to the party tonight?” If it’s not your dream come true, the answer is no. “Read this!” Meh. The answer is no. Life is too short for meh.
- It’s okay not to be the perfect friend, mother, brother, housecleaner, church member, because God makes up the difference. There is no such thing as perfect.
- Raising children while you write? Your children will be a bit twisted. That’s okay.
- Take care of yourself first. Sleep. Exercise. Eat right. Chuck your emotions on this matter into the river and let them float away. No, you won’t enjoy creating a healthy body and mind, but you’ll do it. It’s called ‘Protecting the Asset.’ Live longer. Grace the world with your presence and your work.
- Procrastination is only good if you’re letting your mind wander. Otherwise, just get to work. One trick is to use Mel Robbins’ five second rule. It takes the mind five seconds to talk a person out of following instincts. Count backwards from five when you have the instinct to write but don’t want to. It’s odd, but it works.
- Think, read, watch only the fascinating. Cut out the frivolous. Wash away the boring. It’s okay not to put up with sludge.
- Play. A lot. Play ‘sparks exploration.’ Forget how to play? Remember what you liked as a kid, and start there.
- Do you gamble? Yes, you do. With time. Instead of pulling the handle on the slot machine for a meager payout every 6-10 tugs, you’re flipping from your writing to Facebook or twitter or blog or text or email in hopes that you’ll see something that will pay out emotionally, which sometimes it does. But mostly, it doesn’t. DON’T WRITE DISTRACTED. EVER. Let your mind wander while writing, and you’ll have amazing and bizarre ideas.
- Wake before everyone else for quiet time.
- You’re a slave to information. Stop. Control the information. When the alarm jerks you out of sleep, roll out of bed. Don’t snooze. Get the day started right. If you must, count backwards from five to keep your mind from talking yourself into staying in bed. While getting ready, keep a planner nearby to jot down ideas for your day. THE SECOND you check your phone, something outside your mind controls you. A hurricane. A riot. An email with a task. Don’t start the day with your mind fixated on something other than what you’re about—your writing and plots and formulating your day to manage errands, school, kids, and meals and fitting writing in. As horrible as bad news is, focus on your own mind, first.
- Don’t binge watch TV. Read great books. Sports scores and Hollywood gossip are frivolous. Control the frivolous.
- Force creative time. Just sit and think. Let the mind wander. It helps when you turn off the TV. You never know where your mind will go.
- Don’t forget, you have choice. From big to small, you choose everything. You chose to have more children. You chose your job, your home. Not choosing is a choice. Keep choosing with purpose.
Keep in mind, as a writer, cutting out unnecessary words is vital to great writing. Do the same with your life—Less But Better. And after some time, you’ll find you’re getting an edge on your dreams.
- The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown
- Free to Lean: Making Peace With Your Lopsided Life by Jocelyn Green
Shadow of Devil’s Tower
Philip Anderson is a reluctant gunslinger whose fame has spread through the Dakota Territory. He can’t escape his reputation as the hero who took down the entire Maxwell Gang, and he’s even had a popular dime novel written about him. All Philip yearns for is to live a quiet life raising horses and to finally marry his beloved Anna. He’d gladly give up his half of the treasure map his murdered father left behind, but until Jacob Wilkes is captured he can never hang up his gun. Bent on destroying Philip and everything he loves, Wilkes has his eye on the hidden cache. And on Anna.
Just when Philip thinks he might be able to bury the demons of his past, the unthinkable happens and Anna and her family are kidnapped. Riding his Arabian mare Raven, he is forced into the race of his life as he desperately tracks his enemies across the desert. Can he rescue Anna before it’s too late? Joining forces with old friends like Teddy Roosevelt and Running Deer, Philip is pushed to the breaking point. Will he ever be free, or must he make the ultimate sacrifice for those he loves under the shadow of Devil’s Tower?
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com